What Do You Mean?

What Do You Mean? Richard Quinn  |  October 10, 2019

WORDS AND PHRASES have a powerful impact. They motivate and mislead. They’re subject to perceptions and preconceived notions. They come and go in fashion. Whatever happened to the word “gobbledygook”? Okay, I admit it, I’m also a fan of “curmudgeon.” Today, there are several words and phrases in fashion that pack an emotional punch, but sometimes they’re misunderstood or go unquestioned. When you hear the following 10 words and phrases, I’d advise you to put them under a magnifying glass:

1. Affordable. A simple word, right? But what if I added health care, as in “affordable health care.” You’ve heard that phrase a lot over the past decade, but have you ever seen it defined? When we buy a car, we may define affordable as the ability to make the monthly payments. But if we applied those same dollars every month to health care, the amount would likely be deemed unaffordable. Indeed, paying any amount for health care is often perceived to be too much.

2. Paycheck to paycheck. This phrase is usually preceded by the word “living.” Together, the words trigger empathy and paint a picture of inadequate income and struggling financially. While that may be true, we often fail to consider that—like affordable—this, too, is a relative term. In fact, it can apply at any income level: Consider the deep-in-debt Johnny Depp.

3. Earned. I hear this term a great deal in reference to Social Security. “I earned my benefits,” people will say. “I paid for them.” That’s a misconception. If it were true, your monthly Social Security checks would stop once you had been repaid all of your and your employers’ contributions, plus interest. The fact is, how much your family receives in Social Security benefits is essentially unrelated to the total taxes you paid, thanks in large part to spousal and survivor benefits.

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Source: What Do You Mean? – HumbleDollar

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